North Melbourne hope Daniel Wells will return this AFL season, despite the star needing surgery on his troublesome Achilles tendon.
Wells has not played since round two because of the injury.
Richmond ruck-forward Ben Griffiths will also be out of action for up to three weeks because of shoulder surgery.
The Kangaroos hope the operation will speed up Wells’s recovery from the Achilles injury.
“He’s been working pretty hard and we’ve had some good advancement, but then that advancement has been coupled with a couple of days of stagnation in terms of the progress,” Kangaroos football manager Geoff Walsh told the club website.
“So it’s been frustrating for him and frustrating for us.
“The latest advice was a minor procedure around the Achilles would probably alleviate the pain in particular that he’s been suffering and hopefully get the progress that we both want.”
North’s season is again at the crossroads after their upset loss to Gold Coast last weekend and they desperately need Wells back in the team.
Walsh said the operation means that Wells should be back training within a week to 10 days.
“So as long as that’s all on track, we’re pretty hopeful then that we can ramp up (Wells’ training) and get back to some of the levels that he was achieving spasmodically in the last month,” he added.
A foot injury also restricted Wells to 14 games last season.
Meanwhile, the AFL website reported that Griffiths also had surgery after he was hurt in the weekend’s narrow win over GWS.
His absence and Ivan Maric’s one-game suspension mean a ruck headache for Richmond ahead of Friday night’s match against Carlton.
Shaun Hampson could play his first senior game this season or Ty Vickery might go up against Matthew Kreuzer and Cameron Wood.